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Archive for the 'Wine Collecting' Category

What’s Your New Years Wine Resolution? Wine Enthusiast Staff Responds

 
Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 at 2:23:22 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

New Years Resolution

Just a week into January, I wouldn’t be surprised if plenty of folks had already abandoned their New Years Resolutions. This is the time of year when we promise to be at the gym at 6AM and eat more vegetables. But how about some fun resolutions that may last the whole year and beyond?
We asked some of the biggest oenophiles here at Wine Enthusiast, for their New Years Wine Resolutions. Check them out for inspiration! And share yours!

“To store my 100+ bottles in one central place (that’s safe from my son’s curious hands!) instead of in various wine racks scattered in our dining room.” – Christine, Internet Marketing Manager

“To take a crack at making some wine of my own. After learning so much about the process and having seen it done, I’m itching to get my hands a little dirty and seeing what I can produce…and also to continue my wine education.” – Marshall, Sales Manager

“To learn how to use my waiter’s corkscrew with finesse, despite the fact that my lever-style faux Rabbit is so much easier to use!”—Danna, Copywriter

“To take more notes – even just quick ones in my phone at dinner – to get back into using the lingo and so that I can build a greater memory of specific wineries, varietals and regions. “ – Jacki , Manager of Communications

“To try a new wine every week, especially from lesser-known-regions.” – Richard, Marketing Analyst

“Mine is to utilize my aerators more often. I’m embarrassed to say that usually I’m too excited to dive in to the bottle, that I don’t take the time to maximize the wine’s full potential!”—Erika, Director of Internet Marketing

“To drink more Cru Beaujolais. The QPR is through the roof! And I like the style.” — Josh, Wine Director WineExpress.com

“To bring out my Riedel Sommeliers and uncork a world class Cab or Bordeaux – no special reason – on a Wednesday night perhaps. Life is too short to wait for a special occasion!” – Mike, Business-to-Business Manager

“To update my inventory and have some people over to drink what needs to be opened!”- Todd, Wine Storage Consultant

What is Ambient Temperature and How Does it Affect Your Cellar?

 
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 4:42:34 PM
by Marshall T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

If you look at the specifications for any of our wine refrigerators you may notice a reference to the maximum ambient temperature. Simply stated, this refers to the highest surrounding temperature that a unit can handle while still holding proper wine storage temperature. This can play a major factor in not only deciding which unit to purchase, but where in the home it will reside.Silent Wine Refrigerator 12 Bottle

Many units are only capable of functioning in a “living space”, which means an area where the temperature never rises above 77 degrees. Such units include our Silent Line of wine refrigerators or any unit utilizing thermoelectric cooling.  The reason is that while these units are extremely quiet and efficient, thermoelectric technology cannot withstand extreme temperature fluctuations like some of our other units. The highest temperature differential they can really handle is about 20 degrees, so as the surrounding temperature rises above that 77 mark, so will the temperature inside the unit.

Wine coolers or cellars that use compressor systems are able to hold temperatures under warmer conditions, usually up to 80-85 degrees depending on the specific unit. The parts tend to be made with more durable materials, and the use of refrigerant not only helps these units to function in those warmer areas, but to last longer than the thermoelectric units. Most of these units are similar in function to the refrigerator in your kitchen, a good example being our N’FINITY Line of Wine Cellars.

ThermometerMany people choose to put their refrigerated wine cabinet in their garage, and for those living in extremely warm or cold climates it can be a little risky. Only the EuroCave units are truly able to handle those ambient temperatures around 100 on the high side and close to freezing on the low side. The technology behind EuroCave’s cooling system includes both cooling and heating coils as well as super insulated aluminum interior walls, which allow these units to function in almost any environment.

So if you have a unit in an area that is on the warmer side and it doesn’t seem to be holding the right temperature, you may want to determine if the ambient temperature is just too high for the kind of wine cooler you have. After all, protecting your prized wine collection is the main reason you purchased a wine cellar in the first place! So it’s best to be sure that it is sitting somewhere that it can maintain the right temperatures, allowing your wines to reach their maximum potential.

If you have any questions on which unit may be best for your particular situation, contact one of our wine storage consultants at 800-377-3330

How to Organize Your Wine Collection: Tips and Tricks from the Wine Enthusiast Staff

 
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 1:32:45 PM
by Marshall T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

As a wine collector, your method of cellar organization can either be a source of efficiency or confusion. There are many ways to categorize your collection and it may take years to perfect the system. Whether your collection is 12 or 12,000 bottles, everyone has their own method. We asked Wine Enthusiast employees how they organize their collection, and came up with plenty of answers! Let’s discuss some of the most popular ways, and our personal take on each.

Wine Collecting Tips and Tricks

BY REGION – This is the most common method people use to organize their wine collections. Each region has very distinctive soil and climate characteristics that influence their wines. So when reaching for a bottle to pair with a certain dinner, the region of origin is often a first thought.

My wines are organized by country, and I use Wine Enthusiast bottle tags to label and organize them. They are obviously also separated into whites, reds, desserts and fortified sections. Labeling and organization is important….anything that helps ensure I don’t have a moment of insanity when in a rush and crack into the bottle of Bond I was holding instead of the value Malbec I meant to open! – Susan Kostrzewa, Executive Editor

I organize my wines by country and then region, with each country assigned a different colored bottle tag. All my wines are also included in an excel sheet with all of the information (brand, vintage, variety, appellation, country, price, score, location in my cellar and proposed date to drink) so I can sort and find a wine based upon my mood. – Lauren Buzzeo, Assistant Tasting Director

I sort my wines by region and then by what fits the best side-by-side. Since there really is no exact science, it may take a few times to get your configuration the way you want it. I keep some vintage Champagnes and odd-sized bottles (Turley) on the adjustable shelves and my mags and splits of Port on the very bottom where the compressor is.  The ½ bottles sit nicely on the oversized ones (like a crib)-  David Moseler, Racking Supervisor

I organize my wine by country or region. I call my wines a “single bottle collection” and enjoy the wonderful convenience of the Eurocave rolling shelves that offer me full visibility and accessibility to all my wines. My favorite shelf has great names from California …you know , “I wish they all can be California! “  Big, Bold and Beautiful ! – Lou Ann, Wine Storage Consultant

BY COLOR AND TYPE
- If you are a new collector, it may be simplest to separate just by color. Sometimes sparkling and dessert wines are separated as well. With a small collection, advanced classification systems may not be ready yet.

I have a credenza with two sections so I simply keep my reds on one side and my whites on the other. I find it easy enough currently to quickly peek at the bottles on each side to find something appealing. I do like to keep sparklers and dessert wine on the bottom though, when I have them. –Erika Strum, Internet Marketing Director


BY VARIETAL
– It is very common for collectors to store their reds and whites in separate areas of their cellar or wine refrigerator. But some will take it further and group each grape variety in the same area. This way when they are specifically in the mood for a Chardonnay, they know exactly where to find it.

I have tried a few methods to organize my Eurocave Performance 283. At first it was strictly by varietal, but when it’s full, this eventually becomes more difficult. Say you pull a bottle of Cab and then the next bottle you get to put in the cellar is a Pinot Noir. Without a whole lot of shufflling, the only place to put it is with the Cabs, so over time a certain varietal ends up spread all over the place. So now I have a list that is organized by varietal and each shelf is assigned a number and the shelf number is noted on the list so I know exactly where to go.– Todd La Chance, Wine Storage Consultant

EuroCave Performance 283

BY BRAND – If you tend to buy in bulk, then you certainly want to keep wines of the same brand stored together. Many folks will even have verticals of their favorite wines, which means they have bottles of the same wine from consecutive vintages.

I have shelves for each region, and for regions where I can break down varietal I do that by shelf as well. I group similar brands and verticals together and have one bulk storage shelf for the really long term stuff… whites go on the very bottom.– Marshall Tilden, Sales Manager

BY PRICE – Most collections will contain a variety of different quality levels of wine. Some are meant for everyday drinking, others meant for longer term storage. Typically the less expensive wines will be consumed early in their life, while the more expensive juice sometimes needs many years before it is ready to drink.

I like to think that my ‘Cave has various zip codes.  There is a high-rent district at the top and a low-rent district at the bottom for the whites and freebies I have amassed over the years.  And there is a middle class where I keep my everyday drinkers. -Glenn Edelman, VP of Marketing

I also have a stack of bottles at the bottom of my unit that is a mix of things that are less expensive everyday stuff. Another reason for that stack in the bottom is that if I am not around and my girlfriend wants to have a glass, she can pull from there and I don’t have to worry about her opening my 2007 Mondavi Reserve.- Todd La Chance, Wine Storage Consultant

There is no best approach to organizing your collection, over time you may find yourself taking an integrated or hybrid approach. Start with organizing your wines by region, as they will probably feel more comfortable around their brethren. You can then segment based on red and white, and even further by specific varietal. This way your Napa Cabs are separate from your Napa Zins and your California Pinots are not mixed up with your Oregon Pinots.

Next you can get the vintages grouped together to make sure you are drinking the right wines at the appropriate times. Finally, make sure your brands are all grouped together and if you really want to go nuts, go for the alphabetizing. After all, an organized wine collection can bring you years of pleasure and fulfillment.

How do you organize your prized collection? Do you use one of these methods or do you have one of your own that you would recommend others to use? We would love to hear about it!

Why Your ‘Cool’ Basement May Not Be Safe For Your Wine

 
Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 5:05:11 PM
by Marshall T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Basement
The aging process of wine can be a tricky concept to fully grasp, as wine itself is quite tempermental by nature. Wine has a handful of true enemies that can hinder its evolution into its greatest potential. Some of those enemies that will have the most adverse affect have to do with temperature range and consistency, humidity range and consistency, light, vibration and air cleanliness.

Proper storage temperature for all wine (red, white, champagne, etc) is between 53-57 degrees. Quite often people will ask if keeping wine at 60 degrees is bad for the wine, as their basement typically stays around that temperature. The answer is… it may be. At 60 degrees, the aging process is expedited. So a wine that should reach its peak in 8-10 at proper storage temperature may get there in 3-6 at 60 degrees. But more importantly is the CONSISTENCY of that 60 degrees in your basement.

While many basements may stay at 60 degrees for part of the year, it is very rare that the temperature stays consistently the same year round. So even a fluctuation from 58-70 from the coldest part of the year to warmest can be very harmful and is really what can ruin the wines over just a few years if it is not monitored properly. The same holds true for the humidity. While most basements may hold between 55-75% for part of the year, it is the times where it falls below or rises above those levels that the corks can either dry out or get over soaked and wreak havoc on your beloved wines.

Minimal light and zero vibration play very important roles in storage, however those are two variables that are fairly easy to control in your basement environment if everything else is optimal. But many people forget about the smells and odors that are inherent in their homes because we live with them everyday. Any kind of non neutral odor that passes through the cork and into the wine can interfere with the aromas and flavors that are evolving in your wines. This is the same reason we do not recommend using pine or cedar for wine cellar racks, as the aromatics can ruin an entire cellar filled with your prized collection.

So if you are lucky enough to live in a house that has an area that CONSISTENTLY stays between 53-57 degrees, 55-75% relative humidity, has little light, no vibration and no harmful odors….Congratulations! You have a natural wine cellar and you should load it up with as much great wine as possible, and maybe even charge your friends to store their wine in there as well. But if you are in the majority and have conditions that fluctuate on a yearly basis from these levels, then you may want to look into investing in a temperature controlled wine cellar or refrigerator. If you are not sure, place a temperature and humidity gauge in that area and take some readings as the seasons change. This way you can be sure that one way or another your wine is fully protected and ages exactly how it was intended.

The Heat is On! Keep Your Wine Cool

 
Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 3:03:08 PM
by Marshall T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Many people across the country are thinking the same thing right about now …when did it get so hot?! Not only does this heat and humidity take a toll on our bodies, our spirits and our Con Ed bills, but it also can take a big toll on our wine. Whether you have a few bottles or a few hundred, heat can destroy those bottles that you have stashed away somewhere in your home.WineinHeat
The ideal condition for storing wine (whether red, white, Champagne, Port, etc.) is 55 degrees and between 55% and 75% relative humidity. This is why storing in a regular fridge (too cold) or just a wine rack in a room temperature area (too warm) can be detrimental to wine. The lesser of these evils is to put it in a regular fridge, as that will just dramatically slow down the aging process. But after longer periods of time, this will adversely affect the wine too.
 
 
There are hundreds of different wine storage options to choose from for different collections and budgets. The small wine refrigerators are perfect for those who have a few bottles to a few cases. Most of them are thermoelectric units, so they are very quiet and can go anywhere in the house. There are also bigger wine refrigerator units that typically have a compressor and a front vent, like the ones in your kitchen. Those can be freestanding units, or you can build most of them into your kitchen cabinetry or bar area.
 
 
Then there are the real deal, freestanding wine cellars. There are many different brands and styles to choose from. Some are just larger versions of the smaller wine refrigerators while others, like the Eurocave units, are true wine cellars. Eurocaves are made to mimic the conditions of the old French caves, so you can store your wines for decades in these units. Some prefer the furniture-style cabinets that have wine cooling conditioners installed in them, so they not only serve as beautiful show pieces for your home, but will protect your collection as well.
 
 
Of course if you want to go all-out, you can take a room in your home and turn it into a true wine cellar. This is a pretty large, and potentially costly, undertaking.  It involves building out a room with a vapor barrier, proper insulation and the moisture resistant sheet rock. Then there is the cooling unit and racking to select and install. However, once it is finished it certainly becomes one of the coolest, and most functional, rooms in the house. Just be ready for the all the neighbors to be spending a little more time in your basement ;)
 
 
Have you ever saved a bottle for that perfect occasion, yet when the time comes, you open the wine and the first sip tastes like something you should be putting on your salad? I have and it was such a disappointing experience that I went out and got my first 15-bottle wine fridge and I haven’t looked back since. If your wines are battling the heat and losing the fight, help them out a bit and look into one of these refrigerated wine cabinets.
We have the greatest selection and best prices for all of these wine storage units! If you are looking for more information, just leave a comment and I will be happy to get back to you. Stay cool out there!

Wine Cork Kits: An Old Favorite Expands

 
Thursday, October 15th, 2009 at 4:17:44 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

After offering wine accessories to customers for over 30 years here at Wine Enthusiast, we’ve seen many things come in and out of popularity. But one product whose excitement has never waned is our fun cork kit.

Wine Cork KitAmongst all the innovative new products that our team has developed, there is no replacement for the joy of collecting corks and compiling memories into something useful. For years we’ve offered the original Wine Cork Board Kit and received rave reviews. “Great for a Wall Decoration“, “a great gift for anyone“, and “a cute addition to a wine-themed kitchen” are just a few of the positive comments we’ve received.

Then we decided that corks made a great accent to tabletop service and we created the Wine Cork Trivet Kit.  People love protecting their kitchen table from hot pots while artfully displaying corks from their favorite wines. “Love it love it love it, such fun!” Said one customer, while another uses it “at dinner almost every night.” It seemed like people could not get enough of these cork kits!

Lazy Susan Cork KitTo satisfy all of the excitement, this year we welcome new cork kit creations in all shapes and sizes, like the  Wine Cork  Lazy Susan, Wine Barrel Hoop Cork Kit, Oval Wine Cork Trivet Kit, Round Wine Cork Board Kit , little Wine Cork Coasters and more!

No matter the type you select, we’ll supply the hardwood frame, some sandpaper for any rough edges, instructions and we even offer extra recycled corks if you need help filling the space.

If you already own a wine cork kit and need some design ideas, consult our Cork Patterns, which provides beautiful demonstrations to get you started.

What do you do with old corks? Have you tried our cork kits?

How Not to Stock your Wine Cellar: A Collection of Lessons Learned in 20 Short Years

 
Monday, August 17th, 2009 at 12:08:49 PM
by Joe C., Wine Enthusiast Companies

As featured in the September 2009 issue of Wine Enthusiast MagazineJoe Czerwinski

Collecting wine doesn’t sound difficult, but I’ve made plenty of boneheaded decisions over the past 20-plus years. Just when I think I’ve started to figure it out, I realize my cellar is so far from where I want it to be that I want to give up and send it all off to auction. Here are some of the seemingly contradictory things I’ve learned along the way.
Good storage conditions are vital. When I first started collecting wine, I lived in a garden apartment with basement storage. Then I lived in a first-floor apartment and kept my wine in an interior closet or my parents’ basement. I have only a few bottles left from those early days, but when I open one up, it is invariably disappointing. In retrospect, I wasted several hundred dollars on Bordeaux, not to mention all of the costs I’ve incurred holding it since then. If you can’t provide proper storage, don’t buy the wine.


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